343 didn't mess it up but they didn't catch all of what made Halo so great. A good experience but not a great one.
The game feels and plays flawlessly. The game looks great, it moves and feels great. The sounds are great and you feel like you are in the action. The doesn't take you away from the action very much and even when it does it is only for a brief moment before you are thrown right back in. The vehicles handle just like they did before and it feels great. Halo 4 is a step up from past Halo titles in terms of gameplay, visuals, and multiplayer.
For me the downfall is the story. You are thrown into the story with little to no explanation what so ever of what is happening. When we are done with 3, the humans and covenant are in peace. They helped each other. You would think that the Covenant would have learned their lesson from awaking the Flood that they would stop trying to wake things up. When we start the game we are told that the Covenant have awakened something else because they are looking for something. If this was told in the story it went right over my head, but all we are given is that they were looking for something and woke up the Prometheans.
The game is trying to get more into Master Chief and Cortana. They are also trying to build a relationship between us and them, and also show the relationship between Chief and Cortana. This would have been fine if it wasn't hand fed to us. The first scene of the game tells us that Spartans were given A.I. because they were manipulated and they need A.I. to have some kind of humanity. Then through out the game the relationship between the two isn't really built as much as it is forced. Chief must save Cortana; he saves Cortana by finding getting back to Earth and finding Halsee. (sorry for the spelling) I would have loved to hear some intimate moments between the Chief and Cortana. She is right in his head so why don't they have more conversations? I do understand that they are trying hard to save humanity but they do have some moments of quiet. The only times that they tried to build the relationship between the two were in those brief moments of cut scene.
It seemed very trite. The irony was also very obvious and they brought it up when ever they had the chance too. By the last cut scene between Chief and Lasky I said, "I get it, Chief is man but he is like a machine and Cortana is machine and she is like a human." I didn't have to think about it. It was like they didn't want you to forget what they were trying to say. By doing this I feel they wore it out and by the end I just didn't care.
After looking back I somewhat understand why Didact wanted to destroy the human race. Even then it was just very vague as to why. I have never read the books but I do understand that Chief is special but as to why is vague to me. They don't really explain it other then saying, he is special. They don't explain what happened to Chief so that he could face of with Didact. They also don't explain what Cortana did to protect Chief from the bomb explosion that happened within his own hands. We are only told, "I used the rest of my power to save you." As to how is not explained and it is weird.
Halo started off as a game medium and if I have to go to a different medium to completely understand the story, I feel, isn't good. If you watch all the Star Wars movies you will understand the Star Wars universe. The books and mini series around it helps to explain things in and around that but they aren't necessary to understand the first medium that it was presented in.
I'm not mad that questions were left unanswered, I'm confused because things were presented at all, or just not well. Why was Didact trying to kill the human race? Why are the Covenant snooping around the universe? How did the Promethean's all of a sudden ally with the Covenant. Even Cortana was surprised. In past game when something like this happened it was explained soon after. It was just left unanswered in this game.
The game is an improvement from the previous games. The online is new and fresh but still familiar. When you play it still feels like a Halo game even with the added additions. They don't take away from the fast pace, and it never feels uneven when you are playing. The world that you explore feels large and you are almost never doing the same thing for too long. It is fresh and new and despite the story that wasn't as good as previous games, is an absolute blast to play.